The very first scene of the play features Scullery explaining to the audience what they are going to experience by watching ‘Road’. Cartwright has included this scene because it establishes Scullery’s part in the play, he is the link with the audience. In the next scene the action takes place between Louise and her brother. Through this scene we start to understand family life on road and the relationships between siblings. In the next scene we witness further relationships, this time between Carol and Brenda. They are mother and daughter who don’t like each other very much but as we learn they will always support each other. In scene four we see some of the characters meeting up on the road.
This establishes the road as one of the main settings for the play. We also find out more about the kind of person that Scullery is when he tries to ‘get off’ with Carol and Louise. Scene five takes place in Eddie’s living room and is another scene that looks at the relationship between parents and their children. Eddie’s father is fixing a vacuum cleaner and Eddie is getting ready to go out. Brink is also in the scene. Scene six is another scene that takes place on the road. It also establishes two new characters that are in most of the play, Dor and Lane. We also learn about the past that these characters have. Scullery and Lane have history together, Dor leaves and Lane and Scullery continue to reminisce. Cartwright has used this scene to link two more important scenes together. In scene seven Molly, who is mentioned by Scullery earlier, is brought into the story. She is getting ready to go out and making herself a cup of tea. We discover that she talks to herself. Cartwright has used this scene so that the audience empathises with Molly.
In the next scene we are introduced to the Professor, he has been conducting a study of road and tells the audience about his experience with prostitutes. Lane and the professor chat about old Nelly, a prostitute. This tells the audience the sort of people that live on road. In the next scene we learn of Skin-Lad’s conversion to Buddhism. It adds an element of hope to the play, Skin-Lad has escaped his life as violent skin-head to become a peaceful Buddhist. Cartwright uses the next scene to communicate to the audience the living conditions of the people in Road. Scullery ransacks a house thinking it is derelict. In fact it has a family living there in squalor. In the next scene Jerry has a lament about how life is different from the days when he was a lad. Over the next few scenes we see Joey and Claire die in each other’s arms. They have decided to starve themselves in protest to the world that they live in. Cartwright uses this harrowing and heroic story to make the audience really think about where they live and what they are living with. Scullery covers Joey’s face and he is simply forgotten like so many people. This is what Cartwright wanted to portray.
The next scene takes place in a chip shop, it is used to bring all of the characters together. Dor, Lane, Helen and the Soldier go into the chip shop so the story flows when Helen is eating chips with the soldier later on. In the next scene Helen and the soldier arrive at Helen’s house. He is completely drunk and unconscious in an armchair. Helen talks to him and tries to seduce him. Cartwright uses this scene to portray the pitiable people that live on ‘Road’. They live for money and sex. The idea of Helen and the young soldier is to repulse the audience. They are not meant to feel sorry for her.
Valerie, in the next scene, talks about her husband. She loves him, but she hates the way her treats her. Cartwright uses this scene to represent many of the marriages and relationships of the 1980’s. Everything isn’t perfect. Not everyone is Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer (who later divorced), who had the fairytale wedding of the decade. The next scene is about Brian, Marion and Linda, Brian’s daughter. Brian has taken Marion home, but she cuts herself making a sandwich and is not interested in sex. They wake up Linda and Marion smothers her with kisses. Marion and Brian argue because he wants sex. This scene is included because Cartwright wants to show a realistic argument between realistic characters. It isn’t too dramatised. They take the argument to the street where Louise, Carol, Eddie and Brink, the main vision of hope in the play, meet for the first time. They shout and argue with Marion and Brian before exiting to Brink’s house. Marion shouts at Brian before they go off together.
This final scene is very important. It sums up what the play is about. People trying to escape their rotten life. They banter with each other and Eddie and Brink try to get off with Louise and Carol. There is lots of wine and they all end up very drunk. Eddie puts some music on and they all make sombre speeches. Eddie talks about the state of the country and Brink talks about how he feels inside compared to what people see on the outside. Carol talks about poverty and life. Louise talks about fairness and life not being fair. They all end up shouting ‘Somehow a somehow I might escape’. This is the theme that runs throughout the play.